The Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship title has been blown wide open during an action packed Knockhill weekend. Tom Gamble now lies just three points behind Seb Priaulx, with Dan Harper and Kiern Jewiss both within an arm’s length of the championship lead after a strong showing in Scotland.
It was the second Douglas Motorsport front row lockout in as many meetings ahead of the opening race of the weekend at Knockhill. Harper claimed pole position by just 0.090s over his teammate Jewiss, with Harry King, Gamble and Adam Smalley rounding out the top five.
It was Jewiss who got the better start though, taking the race lead as the teenagers piled through Duffers Dip for the first time. He ran wide at the Chicane though and left the door open for Harper to slip back past.
Priaulx – who had started in sixth place – was charging at the start, picking up a place on each lap during the first two tours. Up to fourth, he joined a five-car scrap for the race lead. King – who had started third – dropped down the order in the opening stages, but pulled off a fantastic recovery drive to first pass Priaulx and Jewiss, then Harper and Gamble to move into the lead – where he remained to the flag.
As King built up what ended up being a three second lead to take his first win of the year, it was all systems go behind. Jewiss, Harper, Gamble, Smalley and Wood were all racing for the final podium positions. As with most Ginetta Junior races, the positions changed with every corner, and with Jewiss pulling away in second, it was eventually Priaulx who took third on the road, but a track limits penalty dropped him to seventh, handing the final spot on the rostrum to Harper. Gamble and Smalley rounded out the top five, with Wood finishing in sixth.
Race two saw Jewiss start on pole for the third time in his Junior racing career. With nine second places to his name he was determined to take his first race win. The pole man made a textbook start to keep Priaulx – who started alongside – at bay. Harper meanwhile made a storming start to move to third on the opening tour.
As always with the Ginetta Juniors, there was soon and eight-car train for third as Harper had to defend hard from immediate threats, King and Gamble. After a short safety car period, racing restarted with Jewiss still leading from Priaulx, King, Harper and Gamble after the first fast lap.
A twitch for Priaulx and a brief loss of time for King dropped the pair down the order, moving Harper into second with Gamble third. The duo then went after the leading Jewiss. Two minutes to go and Harper made a move on his teammate to take the lead, but determined to secure his first win, Jewiss threw everything at the final lap and reclaimed the lead with just a few corners left to run, taking the win from Harper and Gamble.
Further back, there was a great race for seventh between Collard, Digby, Del Sarte and Canning, which was later joined by Smalley – who was caught up in a tangle at the hairpin with Wood and Dyson, losing a handful of places. Collard though, powered on to pass Wood for fifth, before a mistake by Priaulx on the last lap promoted him to fourth; his best result thus far.
As the drivers now look towards Rockingham Motor Speedway in a fortnight’s time, the championship battle is really hotting up. Just three points separate Priaulx and Gamble at the top of the table, with Jewiss and Harper well within touching distance of the top spot ahead of the next event.